In the meeting organize by Democracy for Development institute (D4D) on September 28th, 2020 in Gjakova, with the mayor of the Municipality of Gjakova, Mr. Ardian Gjini, was discussed more on the inclusion of citizen in policy- and decision-making processes, about the infrastructure of schools in the municipality, public consultations, as well as the institutional and financial stimulation of marginalized groups.
The purpose of the meeting was the presentation of the Kosovo We Want (KWW) programme – in the framework of FES, and the online platform GoodGovernance.info – developed by D4D through a project on local governance, as well as to gather information on the work of the Municipality regarding the main issues identified during the two-year work of KWW.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic the civic participation in policy- and decision-making processes has been difficult. However, Mr. Gjini claimed that till May of 2020 he held face-to-face meetings in his office with citizens of Municipality of Gjakova to listen to their concerns and needs. These meetings, unfortunately, had to be stopped due to the outbreak of the pandemic at the time in Kosovo, and they have yet to be reinstated at the same rate as before. Likewise, public consultations as foreseen by the law and some extra ones have been held through alternative means, namely through online platforms, notified Mr. Gjini, and all of the citizens have been notified about these hearings through the official communication channels that the municipality uses.
As for the infrastructure of schools in the Municipality of Gjakova, the mayor mentioned some of the projects that have already been completed, for example the renovation of sanitary environments in all of the schools in the Municipality, over 90% of the schools have made the transition from wood stoves for heating to the central heating systems in each classroom, as well as fixing the school courts. At the same time, the Municipality of Gjakova has started the building of four (4) kindergartens (two in the city, two in the rural areas), as per the request of the majority of parents for kindergartens to send their kinds during their working hours.
As for the relations between the Municipal Assembly, namely the municipal councilors, Mr. Gjini stated that they are quite good, and that they always try to give enough space to all of the political parties to contribute during the drafting of local policies.
The mayor also mentioned the work that hey are doing to support the marginalized groups, especially in ensuring infrastructure for people with disabilities and are on the verge of building a center in the Municipality of Gjakova that would fulfill some of their needs. Likewise, they are working in improving the living conditions and integration in society of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities through numerous projects, among which was also stimulation and advocating for their children to continue schooling.